The Edinburgh Gardens’ plinth (the statue base in the very centre of the park) was originally built to display a wooden statue of Queen Victoria in 1901. Erected in commemoration of her death earlier that year, the statue disappeared some time later in mysterious circumstances and the plinth fell into disrepair. Although it was reconstructed in 1972, it has since sat unadorned and forlorn.
That’s where Plinth Project’s monthly installations come in. A local version of London’s famous Fourth Plinth Programme, this artist-run public art program has, with the support of Yarra City Council and Deco Wine Bar, been turning the statue-less plinth into a locus of public art for the past fourtreen months.
The final installation in the series comes courtesy of local artist Nick Selenitsch, who unveils his latest work, Folly, this Sunday April 6 with a picnic in the Edinburgh Gardens.
Selenitsch’s Folly pays homage to his experience of the Gardens, his life-long love of basketball and his ideas about what a plinth should be. Folly features a four-sided basketball ring and backboard, turned absurdly on its side.
“A plinth is a dead object, it’s no longer living,” Selenitsch says. “You rarely see a living person commemorated on a plinth. So it’s ceremonial but there’s no functionality - like a European folly, where you may have a doorway, but you can’t use it.”
Much of Selenitsch’s work, such as PLAY, his current exhibition at the Shepparton Art Museum, centres around ideas of interaction and play in art. Selenitsch explains that Folly does the opposite, referencing Marcel Duchamp’s readymades, which effectively, “turn a functional object into a symbolic one,” often by simply putting it on its side or on a pedestal.
Other artists who have featured in Plinth Project are Oscar Perry, Spiros Panigirakis, Sarah Crowest, Renee Cosgrave, Annie Wu, Lane Cormick, Nathan Gray, and Hossein Ghaemi.
The opening picnic for the final Plinth Project, Nick Selenitsch’s Folly, will take place on Sunday April 6 from 4–6pm at the basketball court just south of the plinth. Folly will be in place until April 30. Nick Selenitsch is represented in Melbourne by Sutton Gallery.